Majority of breast cancer patients experience fatigue throughout treatment.
Fortunately, exercise is a proven method of improving cancer-related fatigue, as well as reducing risk of breast cancer recurrence. This is one reason outpatient rehabilitation serves as an integral part of cancer treatment.
The team of physical therapists at Cone Health Outpatient Cancer Rehabilitation Center works with cancer patients in the community to educate them on the importance of exercise and to develop safe, individualized routines they can integrate into their daily lives.
Physical therapy is also part of the multidisciplinary clinic at Cone Health Cancer Center, which meets with breast cancer patients each week. At these sessions, a member of the outpatient cancer rehab team works one-on-one with the patient on posture and range of motion exercises they will need to do at home after surgery to help with their healing process.
Breast cancer patients can be at risk of developing lymphedema, the swelling that some women experience in their arm or breast after their lymph nodes are removed.
Fortunately, this is a very treatable condition through the use of massage and special arm wraps. The outpatient cancer rehab team treats patients who have developed lymphedema after surgery, and teaches them methods of caring for it themselves in the future if the condition recurs.
Cone Health Outpatient Rehabilitation also hosts an After Breast Cancer (ABC) class on the first and third Monday of every month, to educate breast cancer patients about lymphedema risk reduction and the importance of exercise.
To learn more or register for one of the ABC classes, call 336-271-4940.
Marti Smith is a physical therapist and supervisor at Cone Health Outpatient Cancer Rehabilitation Center.
Smith received a Bachelor of Science in sports medicine at Elon University in 1997, and a Master of Physical Therapy from UNC Chapel Hill in 1999.
She became a certified lymphedema therapist in 2003.